Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

Does stop oil leak chemical work?

I have a 1993 Camry that has engine oil leak problem. My friend, who is a mechanic, has told me that to fix the problem will be time-consuming and labour intensive - that will cost about $700. So I just leave it alone. Recently, the problem has become a bit serious. The floor has more oil spots. I can see the front lower part of the engine being plagued by the leaking oil (oil leak from the head cover, just adjacent to the ignition distributor, I guess).
<br/> Now I consider taking the car to another shop for a second opnion. If the cost is expensive, I would like to try some stop leak products. Do they really work? Or any possible damage to the engine?
<br/> Please advise. Thanks.


  • edited November 2008

    With the age of this car give it a shot. I never tried them. It just doesn't make sense to put a lot of money into a car that's 16+ years old. I guess it can't hurt.
  • edited November 2008
    This is a common problem with those engines. Besides the mess, is it leaking much? How many miles between quarts? You can pay for a lot of oil with $700! I don't have a good feel for oil stop leaks, I'm leery of adding something that might interfere with the oil's main job, lubrication.
  • edited November 2008
    Just Once and only once ! If one application doesn't stop the leak..fix it. Too much stop leak stops the oil flow in the passageways where it's supposed to go, then you're buying an engine.
  • edited November 2008
    Leak is from "the head cover"?. If by this you mean the valve cover, replacing the valve cover gasket is usually not a high triple digit job. Suggest you obtain a second opinion before using the stop leak stuff.
  • edited November 2008
    Do you feel any sort of responsibilty towards leaving oil on the ground?

    It is not pleasant to get the oil on your shoes and track it everywhere you walk.
  • edited November 2008
    Would switching to a slightly thicker oil help slow the leaking?
  • edited November 2008
    That kind of leak could be fixed by changing a leaking gasket or camshaft seals or wherever the oil is leaking from. You don't want to put anything in that engine that will plug up the oil system.
  • edited November 2008
    I think that there is some misunderstanding here as to how oil stop leak products work. They are not like radiator stop-leak products, and they won't interfere with oil flow through the engine.

    Oil stop leak products work by softening and swelling the oil seals, like the cam seal and the front and rear main seals.

    This shortens the life of the seals, so if the car is high mileage and ALL the seals need replacing or you know the car won't go much further anyway, no harm.

    I would hate to see you shorten the life of good front and rear main seals to slow a leak at the cam shaft seal that could easily be replaced at the next timing belt replacement.

    If part of the problem is the valve cover gasket, spend $10 and do that yourself. Also, put cardboard or a drip pan under the car if you park it inside. Like the man said, you can buy a LOT of oil for $700.
  • edited November 2008
    from were you say its leaking from all it needs is a valve cover gasket and its not expensive or hard to do.
  • edited November 2008
    Get a 2nd opinion on the repair. If it is still expensive dump that stuff in and buy a case of cheapo oil and get some cardboard for your garage.

    I would not bother personally with a $700+ repair on a car that has outlived its design life.
This discussion has been closed.